Attitudes toward Refugees

Attitudes towards Refugees:
A Threshold Model

(With Susanne Veit)

 Despite the influx of millions of refugees into Europe, few studies have investigated the determinants of public opinion on refugee migration. In this project, we present the first cnp3zvqwgaafxw6-1170x658experimental analysis of attitudes toward refugees using evidence from Germany, the country receiving the highest number of asylum requests. Using a conjoint experiment, we investigate to what degree pro-social, economic and ethnocentric considerations shape attitudes toward refugees. We find strong support for pro-social theories: Refugees fleeing political persecution are twice as likely to be accepted as those migrating for economic reasons. Refugees’ economic prowess only mildly increases acceptance rates, while refugees’ religion plays no role. However, for the subgroup of economic refugees, respondents’ economic and ethnocentric considerations exhibit a pronounced effect on their attitudes, while for political refugees such considerations ,continue to be irrelevant. The findings point to a threshold model of attitude formation, where ,self-interest becomes decisive only when refugees’ deservingness is in doubt.
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